As an avid How I Met Your Mother fan, it is hard to think about the show and remain critical and some what objective. Regardless, I want to share my point-of-view about the past season.
I have this theory about television. It really only applies to shows that make it beyond the second season into a 3rd and 4th. HIMYM’s completed sixth season puts it in this category.
Here is my theory. Season 1 is usually a little too focused on character building to be considered “at its best.” Before I go on, please know that I do not knock season 1 for this, because it is necessary. The jokes and the style of humor are often based on things that are discovered by the audience in this first season. Season 2 is usually the best for comedies. The characters are known well by the audience and the style of comedy is present. Jokes are still new and fresh, and unless you are a terrible TV writer, you have not over used any one of your “bits” that make your show great at this point. Season 3, especially for more “off beat” comedies or dramas, is usually when they become a bit more commercialized. Regardless, season 3 is usually the beginning of the end.
This however is not true of HIMYM. I would say that Season 6 proves just how strong the show is. This can be seen in the level of comedy highs, dramatic lows, and the wonderful story arches.
First, the comedy highs. Season six had incredible moments of pure joy and laughter, but it also had more subtle or witty (may be the wrong word) moments. For instance, in the episode Oh, Honey (featuring Katy Perry), there was the subtle play off of the game Clue. Each character was a different player in the game. Ted (Professor Plum), Barney (Mr. Green), Honey (Miss Scarlet), Zoey (Mrs. White), and Robin (Miss Peacock). This bit, though maybe not “laugh out loud” funny, was smart comedy.
Now, the dramatic lows. Some may say that the show got too depressing or dark with the loss of Marshal’s father or the difficulty of Barney searching out his own. However, I think this is smart. We need to be invested in these characters, and for that to continue, they need to be real and have struggles. I think “daddy” issues are a lot more common than we think. With Robin’s poor relationship, Barney’s lack thereof, and Marshal now struggling with the loss of his father, Ted having his parents divorced, and Lily with a “deadbeat” dad, the show has covered the spectrum. But back to the larger issue. Adding these elements allow us to not grow tired of their silly antics that can grow repetitive if that’s all we ever see of them.
And, we know it was against their wishes or not want they really wanted, but in previous seasons, they were asked to have more episodic episodes and less story arch driven story lines for the purposes of syndication. They stepped away from this and back to the great story arches this season. You have the long running development of Ted’s relationship with Zoey, the pregnancy journey with Lily&Marshal, and Barney’s relationship with his father. This is more true to the show as it was intended, and allowed the show to excel has it had previously.
What would be my one critique? Well, I do think Ted is no longer the focal point of the show. The characters surrounding him are growing more and entertaining more. I think if this show is about how
Barney, I mean Ted, meets his future wife and mother to his children, then Ted needs to start growing as much as Barney. (This goes entirely against half of me that adores NPH’s portrayal and acting of Barney and wants the show to be about him, but I am trying to be objective).
Overall, this was a powerful yet hilarious season of How I Met Your Mother. I look forward to the next two seasons. My biggest hope for the show moving forward is refocusing a little bit on “who is the mother?” I know they may not answer the question, but I feel clues could be dropped a bit more next season such as the yellow umbrella or the like.